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The Days And Nights Of Molly Ddd ran from 1987 until 1988 on NBC and from 1989 until 1991 on Lifetime.


Jay Tarses, Co-Creator of Buffalo Bill, again came up with a series that was a critical success, but a commercial disappointment. Certainly it was one of the best of the sub-genre of late 80's tv known as Dramadies which attempted to combine dramatic and sitcom elements.


Blair Brown starred as Molly Dodd, an attractive divorced woman in her mid-30's who was living in New York City. Molly spent a good deal of time mussing about herself-her love life, her goals, her ever changing career, her apartment, her...you get the idea. Molly changed jobs rather often. First she was a singer with Fred Dodds (William Converse-Roberts) band, then she sold real estate, ( Dennis played by Victor Garber was her boss), and then worked at a Greenwich Villiage bookstore ( where Moss played by David Strathairn was the boss). All of her bosses were also sometimes love interests. Fred was her irresponsible ex-husband, a jazz saxophone player, who kept hanging around; Florence ( Allyn Ann McLerie), her worrywart mother; Mamie ( Sandy Faison), her unhappily married sister; Davey ( James Greene), the philosophical elevator operator; and Nina( Maureen Anderman), her best friend.


When NBC canceled The Days And Nights Of Molly Dodd the Lifetime Cable Network telecast reruns and the following year, began airing newly produced episodes. In 1989 Molly found a job as an editor at a small publishing house and began dating black policeman Nathaniel Hawthorne (Richard Lawson)Her widowed mother Florence, was also dating someone new, wealthy theatrical producer Arthur Feldman( George Gaynes). The following year saw Molly dealing with 2 major crises-trying to find the money for a down payment on her apartment, which was converting from a rental to a co-op, and dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. Arthur eventually helped with the money but the pregnancy was more complicated, primarily because she wasn't sure whether the father was Nat or Moss Goodman , a writer with whom she had had a brief fling. That year also saw the arrival of quiky new neighbors, Ron and Ramona ( John Pankow, J. Smith-Cameron), who had purchased the apartment next to her; and Davey's son, Jimmy( James Gleason), a would-be-actor working part-time for his dad as an apprentice doorman.


In 1991 there were many changes and resolutions. Molly's boss at the publishing house, Sara Reddick ( Jennifer Van Dyck)was fired and, much to her amazement , Molly was promoted into her job. She found out that Nat was the father of her unborn child but, after they had gotten engaged, he died in a freak allergic reaction to MSG in the food at a restaurant where he was having lunch with his partner. Following the birth of her daughter, Emily, Molly got much closer to her ex, but before anything could develop, Fred moved to Los Angeles to write the music for a movie.


Series Producer Jay Tarses appeared occasionally as Nick Donatello, who in keeping with the quirky nature of this series, started as her garbageman, during the 1990 season had become a chauffer-driven mayoral aide and by the end of 1991, had gone back to being a garbageman.


An Article from The New York Times


TV WOMEN HAVE COME A LONG WAY, BABY-SORT OF

By PHYLLIS THEROUX;


Published: May 17, 1987


THIS THURSDAY EVENING at 9:30, NBC will introduce a new half-hour television series, ''The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd,'' about a 34-year-old divorced woman (with no children) who lives and works in New York City. There are ready-made seeds of drama planted within these statistics, and, given the large number of viewers who fit Molly's description, there is likely to be an audience out there who will want to watch these seeds grow.


Whether Molly's ''Days and Nights'' will accurately resemble those of her viewers, or whether resemblance is even crucial to the series' success, remains to be seen in the ratings. But what can be seen, right off, is how far we have come since television's first independent female, Marlo Thomas's ''That Girl,'' made her debut on the airwaves. Superficially, the change is great.


Ms. Thomas was portrayed as a madcap, slightly hyperactive fly-in-the-ointment, which trembled deliciously whenever she skimmed (in her designer clothes) across it. She was feisty, self-confident and adorable - Danny's Daughter but determined to work out her destiny in front of something more exciting than a refrigerator. Unmarried, she was, we suspected, a sexual innocent.


Molly Dodd (played by Blair Brown) is an infinitely more complex character. Sexual innocence is not an issue. Her range of emotions is broader, to accommodate a wider, less controllable life, which nobody, including her ex-husband, ever quite leaves. And while she, too, is feisty, self-confident (although not relentlessly so) and adorable, Molly's apartment and wardrobe need a little work; her life, like the elevator in her apartment building, is not quite flush with the landing, and when it falls apart, it can be messy, with nail polish dribbling all over the bathroom tiles.


In short, Molly Dodd is who Marlo Thomas might have become had ''That Girl'' stayed on the air long enough to evolve into ''This Woman.'' More full-figured. But filling in the evolutionary ladder over the past 20 years have been a number of other television ''sisters'' who have gradually expanded our image of the ''independent woman'' beyond our first oxymoronic view of her. And it is safe to say that without Marlo Thomas, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Kate, Allie and Alice, each of whom advanced different but complementary notions of what an independent woman could be, Molly Dodd probably would not be here.


Yet, are any of these women, beneath their differing personalities, actually that distinct from one another? Has time and exposure to the world changed them, or changed the perceptions of the writers who created them? Is Molly Dodd really that removed in any radical sense from her predecessors, once you examine her instincts, value system and life style? Here the gap is narrower than it might first appear.


Collectively, all of these women are a very moral, straightforward group of people. They don't steal each other's husbands or boyfriends, tell lies or let each other down in an emotional crisis. That is the good news. They are still, however, overly apologetic, prone toward masochism, and they continue to approach ''the man's world'' the way women have always approached it - with a certain faith that if they followed the rules they would ultimately become members in good standing. But the rule which ''The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd'' bears witness to, once again, is that in the man's world there really are no rules, if you can get away with breaking them.


As Molly's boss (with whom she had been romantically involved before she discovered he was married) explains, it depends upon how you define marriage. Having obviously grappled with this accusation from other women before, he proceeds to state that he doesn't consider himself married really and is spiritually unattached, as indeed he is - to reality.


''I guess it was all my fault,'' says Molly, lapsing into a masochism more automatic than real. ''You were nice, you seemed decent, and I was vulnerable.''


''Yeah?'' he brightens. ''So, let me off the hook.'' ''I deserve better,'' says Molly. ''Hey,'' he snaps back, ''what if I'm the best there is?''


Momentarily snagged by his logic, Molly recovers herself and says quietly, ''That's a terrifying thought.''


But the more terrifying thought is that so little seems to have changed in the world in which Molly is attempting to find a place. The men still have the best offices, while the women get the best lines. But it is black humor in a segregated world where the women have more substance but the men still call the shots.


In this, there doesn't seem to be any real difference between Mary Tyler Moore in her TV newsroom and Molly Dodd in her real estate office, except that the men in Moore's life were nicer, perhaps because newsrooms tend to attract a more shambling, less conventional type. But there was still a predatory feeling. Mary was still something of a pom-pom girl with a brain who was trying to figure out how the world worked.


And this, I suppose, is where all of these television women are, beneath their revolutionary exteriors, more conventional than pioneering. They accept the man's world as a given that can be mocked and wept over but not changed, at least by them. And so, despite the clear lovability and intelligence of this latest independent woman in the TV lineup, Molly Dodd's character seems too large for her life.


Off the screen, I do not find this to be so among the women I most admire. They are not superwomen or goddesses, and their lives are usually more meaningful than comfortable. But they continue to expand, oftentimes because they have no choice. And if, someday, television comes up with an independent woman character who demonstrates a certain larger-than-the-culture vision and is not, simply, a creature or victim of it, that will be the series I will always make time to follow.And if somebody finally writes about a man who fits this description, my guess is that everybody will stay tuned. MARLO, MARY ET AL


Nights were strictly for sleeping when the single, working woman made her television debut in 1966, in ''That Girl.'' The series, which featured Marlo Thomas as an aspiring actress in New York, ended five years later with her engagement, after a courtship that was remarkably chaste. ''It was a Ken and Barbie relationship,'' recalled Allan Burns, who further explored the genre as co-executive producer with James L. Brooks of ''The Mary Tyler Moore Show,'' which ran from 1970 to '77.


Mary Tyler Moore's Mary Richards (in photo) was the first of a parade of unmarried working women with lively private lives.


''We never showed her in bed, but we were making it clear this was a girl who was having a sex life,'' said Mr. Burns. So was Mary's friend Rhoda, who subsequently had her own series.


The popularity of ''That Girl'' and Mary and Rhoda spawned a number of series about single women in varying stages of liberation. From 1975 to '82 there was ''One Day at a Time,'' about a divorced woman (portrayed by Bonnie Franklin) raising two teen-age daughters - a theme repeated more or less in 1984 by ''Kate & Allie.'' ''Laverne & Shirley,'' about two single young working women, began a seven-year run in 1976. And in 1981 came ''Cagney & Lacey,'' about the partnership of two women cops -one married, the other flamboyantly single.


''My Sister Sam,'' about a photographer who lives with her 16-year-old sister, started in October. Because the series is shown at 8 P.M. - television's so-called family time - Sam behaves with discretion unusual in the 1980's, said Diane English, its executive producer. -Sandra Salmans



A Review From The New York Times


TV REVIEWS; 'MOLLY DODD,' A SITCOM


By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Published: May 21, 1987

MOLLY DODD, formerly Molly Bickford of Huntington, L.I., is 34 years old, divorced and trying to write soul-wrenching poetry while working for a lecherous real-estate agent in Manhattan.


Meanwhile, Molly's mother, Florence, is complaining that her retired father has ''turned into a big slab of meat with eyes.'' Molly's brother, 30, is still living in a tepee somewhere west of the Hudson, and her sister is, as a ''good girl'' should be, married and raising children. No wonder Molly is viewing the prospect of her 35th birthday with apprehension.


Here then is still another variation on the contemporary woman as perceived by television entertainment. There are pronounced traces of ''The Mary Tyler Moore Show,'' surely, in Molly's indomitable spirit, not to mention her way with a wisecrack, but certain show-business traditions are unavoidable. Played warmly, feistily and, above all, appealingly by Blair Brown, Molly is bound to set most teeth on edge once in a while, but, on average, she is a bright and spirited addition to the ranks of sitcoms. Beginning tonight at 9:30, ''The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd'' can be found on NBC.


The show has been preceded by enough network puffery about innovation and daring to sink even the most promising of contenders. With Bernie Brillstein as executive producer, ''Molly Dodd'' is a ''dramatic comedy series'' created, produced and directed by Jay Tarses, who also wrote most of the 13 episodes already completed. As a television veteran, Mr. Tarses's credits include writing for Carol Burnett and Bob Newhart. Along with Tom Patchett, he also created and wrote the acclaimed but failed sitcom called ''Buffalo Bill,'' starring Dabney Coleman. For the movies, he co-wrote a couple of the Muppets films.


''Molly Dodd'' is different from most television sitcoms. Mr. Tarses uses only one camera, with 35-millimeter film. There is no audience and there is no laugh track. And he adds: ''This series is not traditionally structured. It'll be free-form, unpredictable and it won't have a story that wraps every week.''


All of which leaves just one crucial hurdle: finding a batch of characters who wear well enough to make us want to come back next week. ''Molly Dodd'' gets off to an encouraging start on this score.


The men in Molly's life, at least in the first two episodes, include her former husband (William Converse-Roberts), a jazz saxophonist who has changed his name from Alfredo D'Orio to Freddy Dodd because ''it sounds black.'' Molly is still very fond of Freddy, much to the consternation of her more practical mother (Allyn Ann McLerie). Freddy, on the other hand, has just returned from a gig in Sweden with a new, ravishingly beautiful Nordic fiance. Molly's reaction explains the first episode's title: ''Here's Why Cosmetics Should Come in Unbreakable Bottles.''


In Molly's apartment building, there is Davey the elevator operator (James Greene), who can tell her that her poetry is amorphous, but is incapable of making the elevator stop flush with the floor. At work, there is her boss, Dennis (Victor Garber), the womanizing married man who offers the distressing suggestion that maybe he is the best that's available these days. And among Molly's condominium clients there is Birmanyi (Kabir Bedi), a fabulously wealthy Indian who likes to wipe his face in Molly's hair. ''I saw 'Jewel in the Crown,' '' she counters nervously. ''Boy, did I like that!'' Surrounding Molly is a wacky city called New York in which restaurant waiters insist on becoming your best friend and every other young woman is quite visibly pregnant. Under the firm control of Mr. Tarses, ''The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd'' gets off to an intriguing start, the kind that leaves you wondering what might happen next.


A Review From USA TODAY


TV PREVIEWS/BY MONICA COLLINS



Published: May 21, 1987


A tender, singular 'Molly Dodd'


Molly Dodd, the unlikely heroine of this bittersweet new comedy is single. But she does not yet live by a declaration of Independence.


In her singularity, she remains bruised and curiously dependent-on her domineering mother, her married boss with whom she had a fling, and her ex-husband for whom she still harbors tender feelings.


In Molly Dodd's confusion, there is a core of poignant reality. This is not a comic character who functions as a role model or as a assured symbol of single womanhood. She is not out to prove anything. She does not have a glamorous job to fill holes in her personal life.


Ms. Molly played by Blair Brown, is flawed, nutty, off-base, self-deceptive. She is both appealing and repulsive.


When the misguilded Molly-veering perilously toward middle-age-allows one of her real-estate clients, a handsome Indian, to rub his nose in her hair while she shows him an expensive New York condo, the scene is ludicrus and pathetic. But it contains some truth about how the walking wounded seek unusual cures.


The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd-apart from featuring a heroine tinged with sadness-has a gritty,, roughhewn look for a tv comedy. Filmed instead of taped, Dodd's grainy patina enhances the realistic aspect.


There's no laugh track. So, at those moments when strange men rub noses in Molly's hair-a scene that , undoubtedly would have set off an explosion of canned guffaws-we are left to contemplate the strangeness of it all alone.


While Molly, in her eccentricity, breaks the mold of TV's single women, her mother does not. We've seen Molly's smother/mother before: The hovering Ida Morgenstern in Rhoda still has everything on Florence Bickford ( Allyn Ann McLerie), Dodd's mother who, understandably, drives her daughter crazy.


Much more intriguing in this modern comedy of manners would have been a mother who didn't adhere to type. As it is, Florence Bickford causes claustrophobia.


The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd-the Joycean title avoids being "cute"-suggests an ongoing examination of life. A life where all is not TV-genic and neatly wrapped.



An Excerpt from a People Magazine Article


* July 20, 1987
* Vol. 28
* No. 3


Molly Dodd Opens New Windows for Blair Brown


By Jane Hall



In Molly Dodd's life people come and go like the bluesy, bittersweet riffs in a Dexter Gordon sax solo. Along comes Mr. Right, an airplane pilot with a streamlined jaw and sensitivity to burn. Molly ditches him because she's still in love with Mr. Ex, a sponging former spouse who's always dropping by to wound her with news of his latest girlfriend. Molly's life is a mess. Just ask her mother, who wonders why her 34-year-old daughter doesn't have children of her own, or her father, who can't figure why his little girl doesn't settle on a career. Even Molly's elevator operator can't land her within three feet of her floor. "Molly's like a lot of people of my generation whose lives haven't turned out exactly as they'd planned," says Blair Brown, the star of The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd. "I think there are more Mollies around than superachieving yuppies. They're learning to make do with what's there."


If so, they're probably getting by with a little help from Molly Dodd. More than the summer's biggest tube hit, the NBC series is becoming to the '80s what That Girl was to the '60s and The Mary Tyler Moore Show was to the '70s the definitive comedy version of life-and-the-single-girl. Hailed as the thinking person's sitcom, the innovative show(which is shot on film, with no laugh track or tidy endings) has remained in the Nielsen top 15 since it was introduced on a tryout basis in May. NBC will decide later this summer whether Molly will be back next season, but Brown best known on TV for her role as Jacqueline Kennedy in the 1983 Kennedy miniseries has already won star-making reviews for her deftly layered performance. "Blair can slip back and forth between comedy and drama, with emotion subtly flickering across her face," says producer Jay (Buffalo Bill) Tarses, who created the role for her.


Make no mistake: Molly Dodd isn't based on the life and times of Brown, 38. "I'm a lot more focused than Molly," says Blair, although she recognizes with uneasy fellow feeling Molly's attachment to her ex. As Brown was helping Tarses develop the series a year and a half ago, she was separating from Richard Jordan, the actor she'd lived with for nine years. Since meeting on the set of the 1976 mini-series Captains and the Kings, the couple had shared a mercurial, bi-coastal relationship. "Everyone has one or two people in their life who get into their heart," says Brown. "For me, Richard's that man you can't live with and can't live without."


Their parting was friendly though, and they remain in contact through their 5-year-old son, Robert, who lives with Brown in her 1840s Manhattan coop. "What keeps us in touch is the best part of us," says Brown. "The other day Robert was pacing around the room, talking about something, and he looked exactly like Richard."


A finely etched Scottish beauty with auburn hair, pale skin and sea-green eyes, the gracious Brown is full of engaging contradictions. "She's a very classy lady who enjoys rebelling against her background," says Jordan, 48, whose marriage proposals Brown occasionally countered but never felt constrained to accept. Adds her best friend, actress Ellen {Little Shop of Horrors) Greene: "Blair has a great sense of mischief. She loves to get down on the floor with her son and my boyfriend [puppeteer Marty Robinson] and play with robots. She's the kind of woman who could be beautiful with spinach in her teeth."


The only child of Milton Brown, an analyst for the CIA's Latin American division, and his wife, Ann, a teacher, Blair grew up restless in Washington, D.C. and Virginia. She attended the exclusive Madeira School but later dropped out of Pine Manor Junior College ("I made origami animals throughout one exam") in favor of studying acting at the National Theatre School of Canada. "I was a '60s rebel with long hair and incredibly short skirts," she says. "My parents expected me to get married, have children and be a Methodist. They didn't communicate their anxiety to me, but I'm sure they wanted to wring my neck." Cast as a lead player in the hit 1977 production of The Threepenny Opera in New York, she went on to play top roles opposite William Hurt in Altered States(1980), Paul Simon in One-Trick Pony 1980) and John Belushi in Continental Divide (1981). Then as now the star-making machinery was working at full throttle to make her commercial, but she "lost [her] place in line," as she puts it, when she dropped out to raise her son, a choice she doesn't regret.


Now that she's back on the celebrity track, Brown is truly on her own for the first time in years. She is ending a year-long relationship with English playwright David Hare, whom she met while starring in a production of his play Plenty in 1980. "The first year I was single I wasn't really single because I was with David," she says. "He's a very dear friend, someone I really loved. But his career is in London, and mine is here, and both of us have children at home."


At the moment, Brown is also sharing space with a construction crew while her Chelsea apartment is being renovated. While workmen pound away in the kitchen, Blair curls up comfortably in the living room, surrounded by antique furniture, Robert's toys and the family refrigerator. Later than many women, she is discovering the pleasures of being alone. "It's great to be in a good relationship, but I've been as lonely as you can be in a bad one," she says. "For the first time in many years, I'm enjoying asking myself, 'What kind of music do I like?' and 'How do I want to decorate the kitchen?' It's hard going being on your own, especially with a child. But if you disregard some expectations finding the perfect man, earning more money every year I'm finding that life can really surprise you." Maybe Blair Brown isn't Molly Dodd, but her outlook might make a nice tag line for the show's next episode.



An Article from The New York Times


TELEVISION; Is Canned Laughter a Joke?

By STEVEN D. STARK;
Published: January 3, 1988


IN THE INSULAR WORLD OF television comedy, something curious is happening: On a number of new shows, no one is laughing.


For the first time in almost 40 years, a significant number of television comedies have eliminated what was perhaps the genre's most distinguishing feature - the ever-present sound of audience laughter. Whether supplied by a live audience present during the performance or dubbed in mechanically, virtually all television comedies from ''I Love Lucy'' and ''The Beverly Hillbillies'' to ''All in the Family'' and ''The Cosby Show'' have been awash with a resounding array of chuckles, grunts and belly laughs at the rate of one every six seconds.


According to network executives and observers of the television industry, the appearance this season of four ''laughterless'' comedies - ''Frank's Place,'' ''Hooperman,'' ''The 'Slap' Maxwell Story'' and ''Sledgehammer'' - with three more scheduled as mid-season replacements - ''The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd,'' ''Just in Time'' and ''The Wonder Years'' - could be a sign that television is finally moving beyond the 10-laughs-a-minute sitcom.


''Changes in the laugh track symbolize larger changes in television comedy itself,'' says Robert Thompson, assistant professor of communications at the State University of New York at Cortlandt and the author of a number of articles on situation comedies. ''The traditional television comedy needed a laugh track. If these shows make it, the half-hour comedy without a laugh track will be a brand new genre.''


In a sense, the sound of audience laughter is a reminder that television grew out of radio, not film. ''It's a carry-over from radio, where all shows had a live audience and listeners got used to the idea of people laughing at the other end,'' says Larry Gelbart, the veteran television producer and writer who has worked on shows as diverse as ''Caesar's Hour'' and ''M*A*S*H.'' Radio comedy, in contrast to film comedy, was essentially vaudeville humor, and its heavy use of exaggeration, quick entrances and exits, physical stunts (even on the radio) and rapid-fire one-liners still remains the defining characteristic of most sitcoms.


To work, that kind of humor requires an audience response. ''We've always been told that a laugh track is an insult to our intelligence,'' says Mr. Thompson. ''But it's not simply a cue as to what's funny. It's part of the delicate timing that goes with that kind of comedy, like the cymbal rim shot for the nightclub comedian.''


It is the attempt to move television comedy off the stage and onto film that characterizes these new series. Most sitcoms today, like ''The Cosby Show'' and ''Kate & Allie,'' are still shot as stage performances, usually before a chortling audience. In contrast, this season's seven new ''laughterless'' shows are shot like movies, with one camera and numerous takes and editing.


''We don't have a laugh track because there are no people in the room laughing,'' says Jay Tarses, the creator of ''The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd'' and ''The 'Slap' Maxwell Story.'' ''People will know the laughter's canned, and they've become too sophisticated for that. Besides, it enables you to write real dialogue. People don't speak in jokes, and you don't have to wait for the audience to laugh.''


Observers like Horace Newcomb, professor of radio, television and film at the University of Texas, believe that creating a show without audience laughter also forces writers to explore forms of timing and content that are more like movies than traditional television comedies. With less reliance on jokes and physical comedy, ''these shows become character comedies, as opposed to the traditional event or situation comedy,'' according to Professor Newcomb.


R. W. Goodwin, the producer of ''Hooperman,'' says that in its treatment of issues like AIDS or teen-age suicide, his series tends to be more serious than traditional sitcoms. Because they are uninterrupted by laughter, these kinds of shows also require a more attentive audience.


''I think it would be very difficult to run one of these shows at 8 o'clock, when a lot of kids watch,'' says Stuart Bloomberg, vice president of comedy and variety series development at ABC. (CBS's ''Frank's Place,'' which used to be shown at 8 on Monday evenings, was recently moved to 8:30 P.M.) In the past, the few television comedies without audience laughter or a canned facsimile thereof, like ''Police Squad,'' ''Joe Bash'' and ''The United States,'' failed to make it, though ''Hennessey,'' with Jackie Cooper, lasted three seasons, from 1959 to '62. Even a semiserious filmed series like ''M*A*S*H'' used a laugh track, though never for scenes in the operating room.


Still, the proponents of these new shows claim that after 40 years of rip-roaring sitcoms, the baby boomers who grew up on television may be ready for something completely different. ''After the success of 'Cosby,' there's a feeling that the traditional sitcom may have peaked,'' said Michelle Brustin, vice president of comedy programs for NBC.


Others say that shows that combine elements of both drama and humor, such as ''Hill Street Blues'' and ''Moonlighting,'' have gradually accustomed viewers to laughterless sound tracks. Mr. Thompson, of the State University of New York, suggests that the growth in popularity of the VCR may have also accustomed audiences to watching comedies at home without attendant laughter. So far this season the jury is still out: While ''Hooperman,'' with the well-known actor John Ritter, has done fairly well in the ratings, the other three laughterless comedies this season are all in or near last place in the ratings in their time slots.


Perhaps it will take a while for the public to get used to what is, after all, a new genre. But these shows may not have much time to succeed. Because all of them are shot like movies and are therefore more expensive to produce, each episode of these new shows costs the networks about $100,000 more than the traditional sitcom, which tends to run around $375,000 an episode, according to Mr. Bloomberg of ABC. The traditional sitcom offers cheaper laughs, both literally and figuratively.


The proponents of these new shows may also be underestimating the importance of a laugh track to the home audience. ''Critics of the laugh track say the audience is being manipulated,'' says Rick Altman, a professor of French and communications at the University of Iowa. ''But one of the central functions of comedy is to bring the audience together. There's a sense of community reflected in the laugh track. It helps the individual viewer melt into an overall community of laughter.''


Others agree. ''The reason it has taken 40 years for a new type of comedy wIthout laughter to emerge is because the American sitcom is such a perfect dramatic form for television,'' says Mr. Thompson. ''It's easy to understand and it doesn't require the viewer to pay close attention. Besides, when done well, it's very funny. And no one likes to laugh alone.''



An Article From USA TOADY


TELEVISION/BY MONICA COLLINS
Published: March 24, 1988


'Molly' a rite of spring


Molly Dodd still wonders, a loosey-goosey spirit drifting through the concrete canyons.


In tonight's first episode of the second run of The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd ( NBC, 9:30 EST/PST), Molly goes on the strangest job interview. Her mother berates her. And in a closing fantasy sequence, she stares into the rain while imagining a tyrist.


Perhaps because Molly hasn't been around for a while, this single woman-living alone, gainfully unemployed and struggling for " the meaning of it all"-seems flakier than ever. Starring Blair Brown as the pixilated Molly, this series is a curiosity.


Taken off the air last year, Molly has been through a long hiatus. Now it returns for spring-an ode, perhaps, to the fickle season.


Brandon Tartikoff, the president of NBC Entertainment, says that although Molly may never become a regular weekly series, he can envision the series becoming a spring ritual.


" If Molly Dodd has some success then we can consider some programming strategy outside the conventional bounds," he says. He suggests a recurring yearly series: " When the grass turns green, Molly Dodd is there for 13 to 15 weeks."


Tartikoff refutes the suggestion by the show's creator that he doesn't " get" Molly Dodd. ( No one seems to understand Molly.)


Tartikoff's indifference had been a sore point with Jay Tarses, the creator and executive producer. He has claimed that because Tartikoff is not a fan, NBC had put him through the creative wringer, demanding changes in scripts while trying to cram Molly into a more traditional sitcom mode.


" That's not true," Tartikoff counters. " I don't say I don't like Molly Dodd. Jay Tarses says I don't. You cannot ask for a better time period than 9:30 on Thursday nights. It's the most coveted of any time period on network television."


Molly Dodd may have found a secure NBC home-with the promise of an unconventional future-but this doesn't mean the woman is rooted.



An Article from The New York Times


Review/Television; 'Molly Dodd,' With New Episodes, on Cable

By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Published: April 17, 1989


Evidently, there is life after network television. Cable is continuing to prove that not only with reruns of old and supposedly ''classic'' series from past decades but also with the continuation of first-rate contemporary series that were unable to survive on network prime time. ''The Paper Chase'' was one example. Now on basic cable's Lifetime television, there is ''The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd.'' It's back - and better than ever.


Played winningly by Blair Brown, Molly is a 38-year-old unemployed white woman. That's how her mother (Allyn Ann McLerie) describes her at the beginning of this series of 13 new episodes. The first can be seen on Lifetime at 8:30 this evening. (It will be preceded at 8 by the last, never-broadcast installment of the original series). ''Molly Dodd'' was created by Jay Tarses, a former actor whose other memorable contributions to television include ''Buffalo Bill'' and ''The Slap Maxwell Story,'' both starring Dabney Coleman. The Tarses imprint is decidedly offbeat, slightly irreverent and very original.


This time around Molly still struggles to find a life commensurate -that's her word - with her abilities, even as she reminisces about the good old days of headbands, Peter Max and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Literally abandoned on New Year's Eve, she ends up watching the Times Square festivities on television with her former husband (William Converse-Roberts). It's next year. ''Just keeps spinning,'' says he, ''doesn't it?''


So, happily, does ''Molly Dodd.'' She wanders gamely about Manhattan, bumping into the most extraordinary people. There's the head of the It Would Be Our Pleasure agency, whose name is Bing Shalimar, in honor of the crooner and the perfume. ''Call me 'Der Bingle,' '' he implores. Or there's the young woman, a former co-worker of Molly's, who goes to Cubano-Chinese restaurants because they are ''so counter-chic.''


Coping with her dizzily protective mother, several not-quite-right suitors, her philosophical doorman (James Green) who amiably shrugs that ''in the great scheme of things, doorman or dictator, what's the difference?,'' Molly wends her way with remarkable agility and decency. For her, New York City is absolutely insane - and irresistibly magical. So is this series.


Beginning April 28, Lifetime will show the original 26 episodes of ''Molly Dodd'' in sequence on Fridays at 10 P.M. and 10:30 P.M. The new episodes can be seen on Saturdays at 2 P.M. and are repeated at 10 P.M. If at all possible, don't miss them.


An Article from The New York Times


New Life for an NBC Castoff As a New York Cable


By JEREMY GERARD
Published: August 22, 1989


When NBC canceled ''The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd'' last summer, despite good ratings and almost universal praise from the critics, the show was snapped up by Lifetime Television, a young, New York-based cable network.


Lifetime was betting that it could take advantage of the costly groundwork that had already been laid in producing the show.


Since then, ''Molly Dodd'' has been transformed. It has moved from Burbank, Calif., to Queens, and in the process, it has offered regular employment to some of the New York theater's most highly regarded writing, directing and acting talent.


''Molly Dodd,'' which was developed primarily at NBC's expense, had been seen by millions of viewers nationwide when it was canceled. Only 26 episodes had been broadcast. Perhaps most important to Lifetime, a cable network based in Astoria, Queens, whose programming is aimed at women, ''Molly Dodd'' is about a divorced woman who is in her mid-30's and struggling to cope with life in New York City. While the broadcast networks throw the widest net for the biggest audience, cable networks are identifying specific groups - by sex, age, taste, etc. - and looking for programs that will appeal to those select audiences. For Lifetime, ''Molly Dodd'' was the right show at the right time. 'A Quintessential Show'


''We thought it was a quintessential show - and Molly was a quintessential character - in Lifetime's mission to be the channel for women,'' Tom Burchill, the president and chief executive of Lifetime, said last week.


Within weeks of the cancellation, the cable company had negotiated a deal with NBC that allowed it to show the first 26 episodes. Thirteen new episodes were commissioned from the program's producers, and a few weeks ago, Lifetime ordered 26 more.


Few shows looked more like sure hits than ''Molly Dodd,'' which was first broadcast on NBC in May 1987. It had the support of Brandon Tartikoff, the president of NBC's entertainment division. As the brainchild of Jay Tarses, whose resume as a writer, director and producer includes the hugely successful ''Carol Burnett Show'' and ''Bob Newhart Show'' as well as the more offbeat ''Buffalo Bill'' and '' 'Slap' Maxwell Story,'' it had pedigree. ''Molly Dodd'' also had a serious stage and film actress, Blair Brown, in the title role. An Alternative Sitcom


The untidy plots of ''Molly Dodd'' provided an alternative to sitcoms in which all the loose ends are neatly tied up, usually with a moral, after 23 minutes. ''We wanted to show Molly moving crablike through the culture,'' Ms. Brown said in a recent interview at her home in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. ''Back then, every woman on TV wore a suit and was a fabulous executive, a fabulous mother, a fabulous cook.''


On NBC, ''Molly Dodd'' regularly placed among the top 15 prime-time shows in the weekly ratings and had more than a quarter of the viewing audience. Moreover, the critics were enthusiastic. In The New York Times, John J. O'Connor called the show ''a bright and spirited addition to the ranks of sitcoms.''


Nevertheless, Mr. Tartikoff soured on the concept of ''dramedy,'' of which ''Molly Dodd'' was a paradigm, complaining that the show was not funny enough. Also, NBC considered the strong ratings to be somewhat illusory. ''Molly Dodd'' was benefiting from its time slot on the most successful lineup in the business, Mr. Tartikoff said after the show was canceled, and not holding onto the audience delivered by ''Cheers,'' which preceded it.


''Molly Dodd'' is now filmed at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens - next door to NBC's top-ranked ''Cosby Show.'' Most of the creative people involved in ''Molly Dodd,'' including its star, took salary cuts to keep the show going, and defrayed some short-term compensation for potential profits when the show goes into syndication.


At NBC, it cost about $550,000 a week to produce, Mr. Burchill said, while at Lifetime the budget is $400,000 to $500,000 a week. The show is filmed in fewer hours than it was in California, and there are fewer, longer scenes - a change none of the actors are complaining about, Ms. Brown said. A Boon for New York Talent


The New York actors, directors and writers who have benefited include Victor Garber, a Tony Award nominee last season, and Maureen Anderman, whose New York roles include Lady Macbeth at Lincoln Center, along with such stage regulars as William Converse-Roberts and James Greene. This fall, Ms. Brown is to appear on Broadway in ''The Secret Rapture,'' by David Hare.


Don Scardino, an actor-turned-director, will direct more than half of the new episodes. Eric Overmyer, the author of ''On the Verge'' and, last season, ''In a Pig's Valise'' - as well as scripts for ''L.A. Law'' - will share producers' credit with Mr. Scardino on the new segments, with Mr. Tarses overseeing production from Los Angeles.


In the coming episodes, Molly will become a single mother while continuing to cope with suitors, bosses, an ex-husband, a protective doorman and a complicated mother.


The show is ''better than ever,'' Mr. O'Connor wrote after the 13 new episodes were shown this summer. Still, the cable audience is minuscule by network standards. On Lifetime, about 600,000 people - 75 percent of them women - saw each new episode in July, according to Lifetime company research.


Mr. Burchill, of Lifetime, said that advertisers had shown continued interest. ''It's made us even more aggressive about making major programming investments,'' he said. ''It's helped put us on the map.''


An Article from Entertainment Weekly
Published on February 8, 1991


Television News
The Final Nights of 'Molly Dodd'
The ''Molly Dodd'' series finale -- We say goodbye to the Lifetime series starring Blair Brown
By Ken Tucker


Although regularly coy and cutesy, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd (Lifetime, 10:30-11 p.m.) has always been gratifyingly loose and loopy, much more amiable and discursive than most sitcoms. Now the show's creator, Jay Tarses, has announced that this season its third on Lifetime will be Molly's last, and so, with nothing to lose, things promise to get even looser maybe even loopier. Last month it was revealed that the father of single-mom Molly's baby is just as we all had hoped that nice detective Nathaniel Hawthorne (Richard Lawson). Future episodes promise a baby shower, the blessed event itself, postpartum depression of the surreal sort, Molly's 40th birthday, and what a Lifetime press release calls ''an unexpected tragedy.'' (Uh-oh: Watch out, Nate!)


Even when her ditziness verges on the annoying even when she's spouting gaga lines like, ''What I was feeling was too big for my apartment'' Blair Brown's Molly remains luminously intelligent and impeccably sexy. Often mannered and frequently self-indulgent, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd is also irresistible.



To watch some clips from The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd go to http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=days+and+nights+of+molly+dodd&aq=f





For The Richard Lawson Official Website go to http://www.richardlawson.net/tv-mollydodd.html


For more on Producer Jay Tarses go to http://www.museum.tv/eotv/tarsesjay.htm


For some Days And Nights Of Molly Dodd-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/shows/days-and-nights-molly-dodd


To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N301QFLAUhY
Date: Mon January 16, 2006 � Filesize: 9.7kb � Dimensions: 223 x 300 �
Keywords: Days And Nights Of Molly Dodd: Cast Photo

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